FAU URBAN RE-DEVELOPMENT & SPORTS COMPLEX
The Portal - Boca Raton, FL Located in Boca Raton, Florida, Florida Atlantic university has rapidly increased in both size and recognition since it’s construction. The urban program began with the concept of having a centralized core of circulation for students to have shaded access to their classrooms, known as the Breezeway. However, through out the years of expansion and growth of the student population, the breezeway has been outgrown and left as just another feature the campus has to offer. Also, the increase of commuter students brings a demand for more parking spaces through out the campus. This led to the destruction of the existing green spaces to be replaced with deserts of parking lots which are open to the hot sun and create undesirable walks for the students. The objective of this urban design assignment was to revitalize the campus by fusing the concept of a breezeway and attempt to restore and revive the greenery to create shaded zones and provoke more student activity. As the construction continued, the entire eastern side of the campus turned into an ocean of parking lots and remained ignored by any student life. In order to reverse this, the strategy was brought about to stack the parking into a garage and use the remaining space of the outer perimeter of the campus to create a Green Belt. Filling up this vegetated path with a large amount of new trees, programs and sports fields, connect the student dormitories so that they may utilize this space for bike riding, running, exercising or simply walk to class. As this belt wraps around the campus, it connects in the north and south, with the extension of the breezeway. The beautification of the breezeway follows the idea of greenery as it connects all the campus’s green courtyards and utilizes the second floor of the breezeway as an exercise link towards the gym and proposed sports complex, which is the second phase of the development. In recent years, a new stadium has been constructed with it’s neighboring parking garage. It has become one of the campus’s greatest features, however the surrounding context poorly attracts the student life toward this end of the campus. Parking lots currently hold the majority of the northern ground, making the stadium seem isolated from the rest of the campus. Another issue that has been occurring with the site deals with the heavily dense Owl Preserve located right on the stadium’s backyard. The construction of these new developments have caused several trees to be torn down for construction space. The objective of this design was not only to create a space that may re-activate the north end and bring attention to the athletics, but also to restore the preserve by creating a Portal for the trees to have access back into the campus and reinforce the idea of creating a Green Belt. The newly proposed Sports Complex is to be located in between the stadium and it’s parking structure. In attempts to create one unified complex, rather than three separate buildings, the neighboring buildings were treated as allies to create an architectural fusion of forms through surface treatment and wrapping around existing masses. Leaving the front space untouched, provided the opportunity to introduce an urban plaza which can express an entrance for the preserve as well as create a space for tailgating for student football games.